What Happened To Eurocypria Airlines?

The Mediterranean island of Cyprus is a popular destination among European holidaymakers. Particularly during the summer, swathes of…

What Happened To Eurocypria Airlines?

The Mediterranean island of Cyprus is a popular destination among European holidaymakers. Particularly during the summer, swathes of sun-seeking passengers travel to the country on a mixture of scheduled and charter flights. One operator that used to operate a mix of these was Eurocypria Airlines, but what happened to the Larnaca-based carrier?

Eurocypria operated the Boeing 737 in its later years. Photo: Andy Mitchell via Flickr

The airline in a nutshell

The story of Eurocypria Airlines began on March 25th, 1992. On this date, the airline was founded as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cyprus Airways. Cyprus Airways was the Cypriot flag carrier until it ceased operations in January 2015. Meanwhile, Eurocypria made history by being the first charter airline based in the country.

Eurocypria’s charter operations began less than three months later, on June 12th, 1992. Its initial fleet consisted of two Airbus A320s, of which it owned one outright, and leased another from Cyprus Airways. According to Planespotters.net, a third A320, also leased from the Cypriot flag carrier, joined the airline a year after the original pair, in March 1993.

Although Eurocypria Airlines originally came into existence to serve as a charter carrier, it added another string to its bow after the turn of the century. Specifically, 2001 saw it begin operating its first scheduled services alongside its existing charter operations. At the time of its closure, most of the airline’s scheduled destinations were situated in Germany.

Eurocypria Airbus A320
Eurocypria commenced operations with a pair of A320s. Photo: Simon Butler via Flickr

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Eurocypria’s aircraft and their fates

The beginning of Eurocypria’s scheduled services also coincided with the arrival of two more A320s. These second-hand aircraft arrived in February and March that year from former Irish charter operator TransAer International Airlines. However, by July 2003, all five of Eurocypria’s A320s had left the fleet. The original three returned to Cyprus Airways, with the newer pair going to Mexicana and Italian low-cost carrier Wind Jet.

The reason for the A320s’ departures was a change in fleet strategy in favor of the Boeing 737-800. Six of these aircraft joined Eurocypria between 2003 and 2006, with four returning to US lessor ILFC when the airline folded in 2010. The other two went straight into service at other operators, namely El Al Israel Airlines and Aeroméxico.

Eurocypria Boeing 737
A Eurocypria Airlines Boeing 737-800 departing Manchester, one of its scheduled destinations, in 2006.  Photo: Dale Coleman via Wikimedia Commons

The end of the line

But what exactly caused Eurocypria Airlines to cease operations 11 years ago? In 2010, the carrier was in €28 million ($33.8 million) of debt, so the Cypriot government elected to support it with a €35 million (42.3 million) injection. Cyprus Airways opposed this, as it feared that such a small country could not sustainably support two state-funded airlines. The flag carrier had already been forced to sell Eurocypria in 2006 amid financial difficulties.

Later in the year, a merger attempt between the two struggling airlines was considered. It had been hoped that this would be a way of minimizing both carriers’ losses. However, the EU rejected this proposal – interestingly, the initial €35 million injection was likely to have violated EU state aid legislation. This rejection ultimately forced Eurocypria to cease operations in November 2010, with Cyprus Airways also doing so in January 2015.

Did you ever fly with Eurocypria Airlines? If so, was it during the Airbus A320 or Boeing 737 era? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Air Tahiti Nui’s Dreamliner To Resume Los Angeles Paris Flights

With French Polynesia relaxing some entry restrictions, local airline Air Tahiti Nui has resumed its flagship Dreamliner services…

Air Tahiti Nui’s Dreamliner To Resume Los Angeles Paris Flights

With French Polynesia relaxing some entry restrictions, local airline Air Tahiti Nui has resumed its flagship Dreamliner services between Papeete and Los Angeles. The four times a week services restarted on May 2. While flights through to Paris via Los Angeles have not yet resumed, Air Tahiti Nui is eyeing resuming those services in early June.

Air Tahiti Nui is back to flying four times a week between Papeete and Los Angeles. Photo: Air Tahiti Nui

French Polynesia tentatively re-opens to travelers from the United States

With the country having done a good job combatting COVID-19 and the vaccination rollout well underway, French Polynesia is beginning to roll out the welcome mat for overseas travelers. Tahiti re-opened to flights from the USA on May 1. That prompted Air Tahiti Nui to resume their flights to Los Angeles.

That said, it isn’t open slather. Travelers will need to arrive with a COVID-19 CDC vaccination certificate. Passengers have to upload that certificate to French Polynesian health authorities before traveling to Tahiti. In addition, only residents of French Polynesia and people who have spent at least the last 30 days in the United States before traveling will be allowed to fly.

Throughout May, Air Tahiti Nui’s fleet of Boeing 787-9s will jet back and forth between Papeete and Los Angeles four times a week. Flights will depart Papeete’s Faa’a International Airport at 08:20 local time on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings. The eight-hour flight lands in Los Angeles at 21:30 the same day.

After a two-hour turnaround, Air Tahiti Nui’s Dreamliners push back from LAX at 23:55 local time on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings. After flying through the night, the plane will touch down at 05:05 on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday mornings.

Air Tahiti Nui Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner approaching Los Angeles Airport. Photo: Vincenzo Pace/Simple Flying

Air Tahiti Nui eyes Paris flights in June

In June, the frequencies increase to daily with some alterations in flight departure and arrival times. The changes coincide with Air Tahiti Nui’s planned resumption of services through to Paris. From June 3, the airline is targeting Paris with six return services a week.

Those flights will depart LAX at 13:30 local time daily except Tuesday. The Air Tahiti Nui Dreamliners will head through the night. The flights will land in Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport at 09:05 the following morning.

After a three-hour refresh, the Dreamliners will depart Paris at 12:05 local time daily except Tuesday and head back to Los Angeles, landing there later that day. Those flights will then continue onto Papeete.

The airline is also scheduling twice-weekly flights between Papeete and Auckland and Papeete and Tokyo Narita later this year.

Air Tahiti Nui plans to resume flying to Paris in June. Photo: Air Tahiti Nui

Some modifications to the Air Tahiti Nui inflight experience

Of course, all this hangs on the continued success of the vaccination rollout, not just in French Polynesia but elsewhere. The flights are also contingent on the respective governments allowing relatively easy travel.

As with most other airlines, there’s a new normal onboard Air Tahiti Nui flights. For flights to and from the United States, masks remain mandatory onboard for the entire duration of the flights for all passengers above the age of two. For all other Air Tahiti Nui flights, children under 11 are exempt from wearing face masks.

Air Tahiti Nui has also made some changes to its inflight offering. The airline says;

The onboard catering offer has been simplified to limit contact. The aperitif and meal services are combined. Meals are provided in a single passage in all travel classes and concentrated in a single tray service, including desserts for business class. The choice of wines and drinks is also reduced with the same purpose – limiting interactions and serving time.

“For the same purpose, the magazines onboard are removed, excluding the safety sheet, modified for single use only. However, passengers can view a selection of press and magazines, in-flight magazines, and meal service menus on our onboard entertainment system.”

For premium cabin passengers and Air Tahiti Nui’s best customers, lounge access in Papeete and Los Angeles remains off the books.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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